As Politicians Posture, Woman Remembers Human Cost of War

How Survivor of Israel, Palestine War Honors Memories of Those Who Fought Before

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - June 29, 2010) -  As world leaders posture over peace in the Middle East, trading barbs and sound bites through the media, at least one former resident of Israel remembers the human toll of the conflict.

The progression of Ilana Haley's life from soldier to dancer to designer to teacher is no more unlikely than the simple fact that she survived her youth to live through it all. Haley uses her memories of living on a Kibbutz in Israel to tell stories of love and war in her book The Rocky Hill ( Her recollections span the earliest Kibbutz pioneers who built the nation of Israel, where she served in the army and later returned to earn a Master's degree in Hebrew Literature. Along the way, she was also a dancer in Tel Aviv in the Israeli Ballet and even came to the U.S. to study with a grant from the Martha Graham School of Dance, and later found further inspiration as a designer with a degree from the Chicago Art Institute.

Haley's stories focus not as much on the outer conflict of the war as they do on the inner conflict of those who are forced to live with the dubious spoils of that war. But not every story is tragic, and not every poem is sad. Her message is simple, that through the pain and the struggle, the yearning for love and joy doesn't go away.

"People who live in the midst of war do not put their lives and their loves on hold because they live in a world in which soldiers want to destroy what they are building," she added. "Does the fact that a mortar shell might level their home one day erase their need for love and family? Does the political reality of the Middle East conflict mean that everyone who lives in the region is so single-minded of purpose in that clash that they no longer want or feel joy? They are human beings, and their needs are the same as anyone else's. They are simply forced to work harder to fulfill them."

About Ilana Haley

Ilana Haley takes her literary inspiration from an Israeli childhood -- as a child of early Kibbutz pioneers.

Contact Information:

Rachel Friedman